Jump to content


Photo

Blu-Ray: A technology whose time has come ...and gone?


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:12 AM

Does anybody else here get the impression that Blu-Ray is never going to be taken seriously by the general public?

I bought a Blu-Ray player a few years back for the then bargain price of $129,95, but I hardly ever used  it for playing Blu-Ray, it was mostly just used for playing DVDs. Then it died completely about a month after the warranty ran out and I never bothered replacing it.

 

Then today at work they had one of their regular "sidewalk sales" of remaindered  store stocks of various types, and they were selling brand-new  Philips Blu Ray players for $50. Suspecting there might be some reason they were so  cheap I did a bit of Web research, and found that same model players were selling for $68 over a year ago!

 

Consumer opinion forums  didn't come up with anything particularly negative about that model so I bought one, and it works superbly, with a really easy to use user interface and remote, certainly much better than the one I had before.

 

So it seems that the reason they were so cheap is that nobody is particularly interesting in buying Blu Ray players.

 

Certainly my local video library only has a limited range of Blu-Ray titles, and they nearly always run out of the DVD version of a movie before the Blu-Ray. The rental is exactly the same for Blu-Ray and DVD, so clearly there's no particular advantage to the video library in stocking Blu-Ray.

 

I get the feeling that, as far as Joe Public is concerned anyway, the DVD format is good enough. It actually took quite a few years to for DVDs to displace VCRs even when DVD players could be had for less than the price of a DVD movie in some cases. Going from DVD to Blu-ray is nowhere near  as big a quality leap as going from VHS to DVD, so it looks like a case of history repeating itself.

 

 

 


  • 0

#2 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:39 AM

PAL on a HDTV does look remarkably good. The "good enough" factor does kick in with the mass market and there is a price differential between DVD and Blu ray, especially when you can buy relatively recent good movies for £3 at the supermarket.


  • 0

#3 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19761 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:41 AM

There's no comparison, blu-rays generally have a much higher picture quality.  I mean, we're talking 480P versus 1080P.  Would you buy a digital stills camera that only took a .3MP picture?

 

But it's true that for a lot of people, the improvement in quality is not necessary, partly because they are watching movies on their iPads and whatnot.  Otherwise, I only watch DVD's when a blu-ray is not available.

 

The issue isn't really whether we need HD instead of SD for movie delivery, it's whether physical media is falling out in favor of streaming and downloading.  HD delivery is here to stay, but blu-rays may disappear as a method of distributing, which is too bad -- for one thing, as someone who has to cut a demo reel, it's much harder to pull frames and clips from anything only distributed on iTunes.


  • 1

#4 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 15 May 2013 - 01:44 PM

I recently attended a seminar given by distributors and film sales agents where it was mentioned that streaming and other means of on-line delivery (legal and otherwise) are hitting DVD sales in general, so revenue from these is declining. Theatrical is regarded as pretty much a promotion for DVD and other sales.


  • 0

#5 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:09 AM

There's no comparison, blu-rays generally have a much higher picture quality.  I mean, we're talking 480P versus 1080P.  Would you buy a digital stills camera that only took a .3MP picture?

 

I don't know, all the Australian networks started out with their flagship channels (ie the ones simulcast on analog TV) in both SD and  HD (mostly 1080i),

The SD digital  simulcast was necessary because most of the early Set Top Boxes and Digital TVs could only decode Standard Definition; the HD transmission was necessary because it was part of the broadcast license deal, not because there were too many TVs that could make any use of it!  

 

Then, one by one  the networks replaced their HD programming  with "special Interest" formats, containing programs that only occasionally were originated in HD, many of them being re-runs of decades-old sitcoms originated in analog PAL and NTSC.  If your TV or STB couldn't get HD you were out of luck, although by that time, full-HD receiving devices were dirt cheap anyway.

 

As the final insult, the 9 network's GEM HD service, now devotes a considerable amount of  its programming time to Home Shopping crap, mostly in about Skype video quality but delivered in 1080i!

 

We also  have the absurd situation of first-run movies and Prime Time shows being broadcast in Standard Definition, with the reruns in HD!

 

And in this country at least, nobody seems to care! Come December, Sydney's Analog Transmissions will shut down, it will be interesting to see what happens then.

 

 

 HD delivery is here to stay, but blu-rays may disappear as a method of distributing, which is too bad -- for one thing, as someone who has to cut a demo reel, it's much harder to pull frames and clips from anything only distributed on iTunes.

 

What is the actual problem with iTunes delivery?  Is it just the lack of quality, or the special format they use. (I've only ever downloaded music from iTunes)


  • 0

#6 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:54 PM

I'm still quite happy with VHS and 4X3.  Looks fine to me!


  • 0

#7 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19761 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 16 May 2013 - 11:47 PM

I love watching my old favorites on blu-ray.  Even with a fairly soft movie like "Superman" (fog filters, zoom lenses, etc.) you can see the improvement in detail, and you can actually see the grain structure.  I pulled this frame from the movie from the DVD (480P) and the blu-ray (1080P), both changed to 900 pixels across.  It won't be as dramatic a difference on a computer monitor: 

 

DVD:

superman_compare1.jpg

 

Blu-Ray:

superman_compare2.jpg

 

DVD crop:

superman_compare3.jpg

 

Blu-Ray crop:

superman_compare4.jpg

 

 

And this is an example of what I can't do with an iTunes version...

 

A very sharp movie like "Lawrence of Arabia" will show a more dramatic difference between the blu-ray and the DVD, especially at 1080P.


  • 0

#8 David Cunningham

David Cunningham
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1049 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 17 May 2013 - 07:31 AM

Yeah, there really is no comparison.  But, those that don't know or care that much about the actual cinematography of a movie won't notice, care or gain anything.

 

My favorite example is my Blu-ray of The Sound of Music.  God bless the amazing Tod-AO filmes of the 60s.  I could watch the cinematography of that film on Blu-ray all day long every day.  It even includes the DVD version which I've watched for comparison sake and the distant hills, mountains and city-scape is a completely different experience.  With the Blu-ray, I almost feel as though I am experiencing the film as it was meant to be seen.  I'm not sure that a 4K cinema projection would change my personal experience that much... maybe a bit.

 

Of course, I guess this is speaking more about resolution than format.  I personally own very few Blu-Ray disks as most of the stuff I can get on iTunes is 1080p and looks as good as a Blu-Ray.  I love downloading "The Walking Dead" from iTunes.  It's looks a hundred times better than my Comcast or Directv AMC feeds.


  • 0

#9 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 17 May 2013 - 08:32 PM

Yeah, there really is no comparison.  But, those that don't know or care that much about the actual cinematography of a movie won't notice, care or gain anything.

 

 

Which was my original point. Of course I can tell the difference between  ** a good** Blu-Ray and the DVD equivalent,  but not all Blu-Ray releases take full advantage of the capabilities of the format, just as not all DVDs take full advantage of what 480/576p has to offer.

 

I'm really happy with my $50 Blu Ray player, and it performs very well on a 55" TV with a surround sound system, but even though I know i'm watching essentially the same resolution as my local movie theater, it's not the same as watching it in a cinema, and  a lot of other people feel the same way

 

What doesn't seem to have sunk into the marketing people is that most people's lives don't revolve around watching movies.

 

As prices continue to fall, what I suspect will eventually happen is that there will no longer be "DVD players", there will simply be Blu-Ray players that also play DVD (and CDs for that matter). I've noticed that a lot of stores in their advertising now   actually point out that their Blu-Ray players will also play DVDs, which sort of indicates what a bang-up job the Blu-Ray marketing people have done of informing the public.

 

And, WTF would anybody want to play YouTube videos through their Blu-Ray player via a network connection?!  Actually one of the premier features of my player is that you can shut all that crap off in the setup so it never asks you again.... 


  • 0

#10 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 17 May 2013 - 08:56 PM

I'm still quite happy with VHS and 4X3.  Looks fine to me!

Damn Straight! And Dagnabbit; we PAID for all them nahn-teen screen inches; no faggot city-slicker producer is gonna fill up  mah screen with black bars, not AH have anythang to do with it!!


  • 0

#11 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 17 May 2013 - 10:25 PM

Er, um, yeah, kinda.

 

R,


  • 0

#12 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 18 May 2013 - 06:36 AM

The big problem was that Blu-ray and HD-DVD were put up against one another.

Rather than buy into a system that might become obsolete the customer chose to not buy anything.

By the time the situation was resolved, blu-ray was old news and wasn't exciting as a new format anymore.

(The human race tends to be driven by fads)

 

Various other confusing stuff happened as well which made a lot of people decide that the best blue ray player was a Sony play station.

 

Basically the whole blu-ray launch was a mess which was really stupid as they really NEEDED to nail that one down.

 

I said at the time, blu-ray is the new laser disc, the format for cinephiles who really care about image quality.

 

Freya


  • 0

#13 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 18 May 2013 - 06:56 AM

I love watching my old favorites on blu-ray.  Even with a fairly soft movie like "Superman" (fog filters, zoom lenses, etc.) you can see the improvement in detail, and you can actually see the grain structure.  I pulled this frame from the movie from the DVD (480P) and the blu-ray (1080P), both changed to 900 pixels across.  It won't be as dramatic a difference on a computer monitor: 

 

DVD:

superman_compare1.jpg

 

Blu-Ray:

superman_compare2.jpg

 

 

Okay, I feel I must comment on this. The colours in the one labeled DVD look far nicer than the colour in the one labeled blu-ray.

The red in his jacket looks especially bad in the one labelled blu-ray. It looks garish in a way the DVD labeled one doesn't.

 

I have an absolutely terrible LCD laptop here tho, but I'm also wondering if this is another example of my tastes being massively out of step with the prevailing winds. :(

 

The faces look a LOT better in the blu-ray version tho.

 

Freya


  • 0

#14 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 18 May 2013 - 07:43 AM

 

The issue isn't really whether we need HD instead of SD for movie delivery, it's whether physical media is falling out in favor of streaming and downloading.  HD delivery is here to stay, but blu-rays may disappear as a method of distributing, which is too bad -- for one thing, as someone who has to cut a demo reel, it's much harder to pull frames and clips from anything only distributed on iTunes.

 

This is spot on. It's a huge issue at the moment because of the 4k thing. I think most of the companies out there are realising that we are headed for a future based on streaming/dowloading. Sadly what they havn't realised is that it is a future that is quite incompatible with 4K. 4K really does need a basis in physical media to make it work for home video type stuff. The quantities of data are just waaaay too high to be practical for streaming/downloading. Red are the ones who are in the best position to make a streaming solution work as they have a codec that can really compress the hell out of things but even then I think it would struggle, it's just too much, and not everybody has the fantasy internet connection that companies might imagine.

 

If 4k can't be made to work in this context (i.e. no physical media) then the best hope for 4k is in broadcast TV. 4k provides massive opportunities for broadcast and I think they would be insane not to take them. It's the only clear route for them to escape from standard definition and interlaced style broadcasts and it also would give them a real selling point against internet based video. If they miss this opportunity it won't come again and they will be stuck with the situation they have now because things will have moved on. Also TV may be the best opportunity to get 4k into cinemas by the back door too.

 

Back to online video and the big problem there is that people are going to have real choices. If you give someone a 4k disc or a blu-ray, then they don't really get the choice at what resolution it is delivered at. Once people have the choice, they may be inclined to compromise. Right now and for a ways into the future, I think it's likely that the optimal resolution is likely to be 720p. There may be a few people who choose 1080p and probably far more who choose SD resolutions but I suspect that 720p will be about the sweetspot. In fact right now I don't know many people with computers that are really up to playing 720p without struggling badly and that is just from the point of view of processing power. Once bandwidth comes into consideration things get a lot more nasty.

 

Basically if 4k doesn't get off the ground then the future will be largely 720p, at least in the home/mobile.

 

Freya


  • 0


Metropolis Post

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

The Slider

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

CineTape

Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products